Dear Young Heterosexual Women,

www,ddscott.com
Source: www,ddscott.com

First let me introduce myself. I am a 55-year old psychologist and professor. My students say I remind them of Barbara Streisand in Meet The Fockers, likely because I have curly hair, a large nose, and talk about sex a lot. In fact, I teach Psychology of Human Sexuality to about 200 undergraduate students each year.

Last semester,a  colleague asked me an insightful question: “How would you describe this generation’s knowledge and attitudes about sex?” Sadly, my answer was: “This generation seems to be more misinformed than any other, likely because they get so much of their information from pornography.”  I  ran my answer past my undergraduate students—they downheartedly agreed. They also said the most distorted information they receive is about young heterosexual women’s sexuality. I hope that my letter can help to clear up some of these distortions.

Before starting my letter, I have to define some terms. When I mention “sex” I mean all sexual activity, not just penile-vaginal intercourse. For specific acts, I will refer to these acts. I hope the reason why I am doing this will become obvious as you read my letter below (and if not, please see my post where I tried to start a linguistic sexual revolution).

  1. Sex is meant to be pleasurable. Sex education classes often forget this important point when warning you about all the dangers of sex.
  2. You deserve pleasure during sex. Your pleasure doesn’t have to be secondary to your partner’s pleasure.This goes for both relationship sex and casual sex.
  3. Some women don’t lubricate sufficiently even when excited. It’s okay to use lubricant!You might especially need lubricant with a condom, but make sure to use one that doesn’t weaken the condom—see here for information.
  4. Not all women ejaculate or squirt. In fact, most don’t.
  5. Not all women can find their G-spot (which actually isn’t a spot after all but a complex area in the vagina). And, not all women find stimulation of this spot pleasurable.
  6. To have pleasure and orgasm, the VAST majority of women need clitoral stimulation. Only a very small percentage of women orgasm from just penile-vaginal intercourse alone. Most reach orgasm through manual stimulation or oral sex. Many women like to pair clitoral stimulation (by oneself or one’s partner with a hand or a vibrator) with intercourse.
  7. It generally takes women about 20 minutes of “foreplay” (defined in our culture as the stimulation before intercourse) to be excited enough to reach orgasm. This stimulation is also needed to prepare the vagina for intercourse—without it you won’t be lubricated enough and your vagina won’t “tent” or change to the shape it needs to in order to best prepare to receive a penis.
  8. Figure out what type of clitoral stimulation brings you to orgasm by masturbating. The best way to know what you like is to take matters into your own hands. Some women need direct stimulation of the clitoris. For others, this is too much and they need stimulation around the clitoris or even through underwear. Every women is unique in terms of what brings her pleasure and, in fact, what each woman needs can differ from one encounter to another—hence the need for the next tip.
  9. Tell your partner what you need to reach orgasm. Remember, he has been watching the same distorted movies and porn that you may have been watching, so he may also think his penis is key to your orgasm. You have to tell him otherwise. (And if you fake orgasm during intercourse, he will continue to think this is how women orgasm and continue to do the same thing, with you and with future partners).
  10. Many women feel self-conscious of their bodies during sex. You can’t be self-monitoring and have an orgasm. You can’t have an orgasm while trying to hold your stomach in. Having an orgasm requires fully immersing in the sensations of the moment and letting go. The best way to learn to do this is to practice mindfulness during your everyday life, and then transfer these skills to sex. (Here’s a link to a great resource to introduce you to mindfulness).
  11. You smell just fine and your discharges are normal. Women’s vulvas have a unique odor and produce discharges.You don’t need to douche to get rid of that and in fact, that can be harmful in the long run, leading to infections. (If your discharge suddenly has a new or odd odor or color, you might have an infection—see here for information).
  12. Your vulva is beautiful as it is. Many of the vulvas in porn have been either digitally altered (to be perfectly symmetrical and to have small inner lips) or the porn stars have had surgery. Every vulva is unique—like a beautiful snowflake. Love your vulva and take pride in your labia.
  13. I am saddened to have to even write this. Too many women have been the victim of rape, sexual violence, and sexual coercion and I want these women to know: It is not your fault. EVER. Even if you were drunk. Most young women get drunk at some point in their lives—and you getting drunk doesn’t cause sexual violence. The perpetrator is the cause. Also, if you are a survivor, you can reclaim your sexual life again. The Sexual Healing Journey is a great starting point.
  14. Finally, sex is a learnable skill not something people are inherently good or bad at. Someone probably gave you driving lessons because they knew you’d be driving your entire life and wanted you to have the skills to make it a safe, enjoyable ride. But, we likely failed in terms of giving you enough information to have a fun, safe, and pleasurable sex life. Getting better at sex takes communication and practice (alone and with a partner). Enjoy the journey of getting to know your body. There will be bumps along the road and not all sexual encounters will be mind-blowing. Learn from all of your experiences so you will better know what you want.

In sum, dear young women, if I had only three tips to give you, they would be the following: 1) learn about your own body (especially your clitoris); 2) learn to tell a partner what you like and want; and 3) learn to mindfully immerse yourself during sex.

These lessons are harder to learn than they sound, but I assure you--they’re totally worth it!

With Love to All of You,

Laurie Mintz

P.S. My inspiration for writing this letter was Mary Pipher, who wrote a wise book titled “Letters to a Young Therapist” in which she shares what she has learned over the course of 30 years of being a therapist, so that younger therapists can benefit.

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